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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

St. Paul to build apartment complex

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Anonymous Tribune said...

The city's Housing and Redevelopment Authority on Thursday approved a financing package, guaranteed by taxpayer money, to move forward with the 58-unit Lofts at Farmers Market.

By CHRIS HAVENS, Star Tribune

Last update: December 2, 2010 - 10:43 PM

St. Paul got back into the rental game Thursday after a brief hiatus because of a spat between Mayor Chris Coleman and City Council members.

The council, sitting as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), approved a $9 million bonding package for an apartment project across from the St. Paul Farmers Market in Lowertown.

That approval lifted a stopper Coleman had put on other big projects in his multimillion-dollar Rebuild St. Paul initiative after some on the council refused to support the financing two weeks ago. Taxpayer money will be used to guarantee the bonds.

It was a rare dispute between the mayor and council, but Coleman won out and other projects now will be allowed to proceed.

The lofts project, which has languished as a hole at the corner of 5th and Wall Streets for several years, is seen by Coleman and others in the city as "catalytic."

"We've always known that the Lofts at Farmers Market project is our best chance to get shovels in the ground, people back to work and to continue years of building momentum and vitality in Lowertown," Coleman said.

The $13 million complex will have 58 units with rents ranging from $890 for an efficiency to $1,490 for a two-bedroom. There will be 2,000 square feet on the ground floor to be used for retail, but there's no tenant yet.

The project is expected to create about 40 construction jobs. "I'm thankful the council came on board," said Harry Melander, president of the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council.

Shaw-Lundquist Associates is the apparent low bidder, and a contract is likely to be awarded in the next week or so.

Council Member Russ Stark had explained his support simply: "We've already sunk a lot of resources into this."

That's true. At least $3 million in city funding has gone into the project.

City Council President Kathy Lantry was the lone no vote. She said she thinks the project is a risk to taxpayers.

The bonds that the HRA plans to issue are part of the federal stimulus program and come with a discount, but to get them the city has to own the project.
Some have objected to the city getting into the development game.

A group of 20 disgruntled apartment property owners sent a letter to city officials in October stating their objections to the use of public funds for market-rate projects.
Stuart Nolan, chairman of

Bloomington-based StuartCo, is one of two property owners who signed that letter and said the city was creating grossly unfair competition with private real estate developers because the city can borrow money at much lower rates and doesn't have to pay taxes.

Nolan, who has developed more than 1,700 units in the city, sent a second letter Nov. 30 saying he wouldn't build another project in St. Paul if the city proceeded.

Chris Havens • 612-673-4148

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The government try's to take over health care, now housing!

get the F out of our lives!

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The government did not take over health care. The government opened up the competition so that we get better pricing and services from the PRIVATE carriers.

If you owned a business or paid for your health insurance, you'd know the the fastest growing and most out or control expense in business has been the cost of health care coverage in the last 15 years. The health industry worked together to eliminate competition, routinely deny claims even in life and death situations over clients who paid their premiums, and increase costs at will. Oh, and for those who have no coverage, they spread the costs of non-insured emergency room coverage to those of us who had insurance. It was out of control.

Can you be more specific on how you want the government out of your lives. Understand you're telling us all through the internet which is regulated through the government (imagine paying by the minute or word).


Eric

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who runs The city's Housing and Redevelopment Authority and Dave Thune and how much are they sucking out of this cream pie and putting Union Boys to work so the Union can make some money.
Witch party run the unions, The DFL

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is totally discusting. Like we don't have enough rental vacancies in the area? Creating more jobs for the union boys to drive more landlords out of business! Get your heads out of your ####'s and quit wasting taxpayer money...
Another example of DFL waste####!!

6:28 PM  

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